The competition is designed for high school students with little computer and network configuration experience. These skills and experiences are helpful but not necessary when participating:
The competition organizes participants into teams.
Teams consist of four to eight students who configure and defend their networks and computers from attack. Multiple schools can come together to form a team.
One or two advisors from each school must be present. Advisors are not allowed to participate or coach their students during the competition, however, advisors can take a short course on privacy and security in education for continuing education credit while the competition takes place.
The blue teams include students participating in the competition. A blue team can have up to six people on the roster and team members must be a full time high school student in Illinois.
Made up of Illinois State students, this team attempts to infiltrate and disrupt blue teams' networks.
The white team includes volunteers who serve as judges and room monitors. Judges assess blue teams' ability to maintain their network and services as well as their ability to complete competition assignments.
Administrative volunteers make up the gold team. They help with the logistics of the competition such as room set up and food.
Each blue team has a white team member in the room to observe and assist judges.
The competition also includes a chief judge who serves as the final authority on scoring, equity and fairness, and general event decisions.
Each blue team receives identical business tasks and teams earn points when they successfully complete a task. Tasks vary in nature and points. Point value is based on a task's difficulty and length of time to complete.